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Factors That Affect The Level Of Motivation In The Employees

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3834 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Chapter 1: Introduction

The most contentious problem of the modern society, especially in the tough business environments is providing jobs to able workers. Once this problem is resolved, the responsibility shifts towards the management of a business organization for now it becomes its duty to keep its employees motivated in order to perform effectively over a long period of time.

Motivating is in itself a challenge and keeping people motivated a bigger one. Li (nd) suggests that employee motivation is one of the most important and critical function to be performed by the managers due to need for increasing productivity and utilizing the resources in the most optimum fashion. The simplest terms in which motivation can be defined is the stimulation of people’s needs, wants and desires and lead them into action and converting those unfulfilled expectations by providing the right channel.

This is the backdrop against which I propose to carry out a research to deduce the dimensions of relationship between motivation and performance, particularly emphasizing on which factors are most effective in promoting the motivation of employees in an organization.

The research proposal entitled “Relationship between motivation and performance” intends to assess the various factors that affect the level of motivation in the employees and how motivation is related to their level of performance. The study will be carried out with special reference to the Lucknow, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi branches of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

1.2. Theoretical Framework

Factors affecting motivation

Motivation of employees

Performance of employees

Source: Author’s Creation

The research proposal will communicate the need to evaluate the employees’ motivation within the context of a business organization. It is easier for an organization to perform well when its employees are motivated towards their professional, personal and organizational goals and objectives. I attempt to study this very issue wherein I focus on evaluating the various factors that impact the motivation of employees and the extent of this impact. Subsequently I also focus on deriving the relationship between motivation and performance of employees. It is advisable for the organizations to establish motivational programmes to improve the motivation and thus their performance and in turn the organizational performance and organizational effectiveness.

1.3. Objectives of Research

1.3.1. Primary Objectives

To assess the impact of various factors within a work environment which motivate the employees to perform.

To analyze the dimensions of relationship between the motivation of employees and their performance at work.

1.3.2. Secondary Objectives

To establish different ways in which LIC India can improve the motivation levels and increase the productivity without increasing the pressure on employees.

To study the impact of monetary and non-monetary systems of reward on the employee’s motivation and performance.

To examine the relationships between the employees’ motivation, performance, satisfaction and organizational effectiveness.

To propose some pragmatic recommendations for improving the performance of employees and organization by fostering motivational climate embedded in the organizational culture.

1.4. Problem Statement

Robbins (1993, p. 206) defined motivation as a process which results from unfulfilled needs that create a tension and thus drive an individual to satisfy those needs by performing certain functions. This easing of tension influences the individual’s cognition and brings about a change in behaviour according to Kanfer (1991, p. 11. In Dunnette & Hough).

Drive to satisfy the need

Resulting tension

Unsatisfied needs

Search behaviour

Satisfaction of need

Reduction of tension

Source: Adapted from Robbins (1993, p. 206)

Motivation of employees is fundamentally embedded in the works of researchers like Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs), Frederick Winslow Taylor (scientific management), Elton Mayo (Hawthorne studies) and Frederick Herzberg (motivation and hygiene factors). According to Simms (2007), Jakobson (2007) motivation requires common communication to act as a mediator between the employees and management. Sharbrough (2006) finds that higher levels of motivation are linked with higher performance. It is interesting to notice therefore, that motivation can result in higher performance and higher performance can nurture motivation in the employees. Silverman (2006) finds there is an essential need for employers to promote idea sharing and collaborative functioning towards developing the motivation and increasing the performance. This proposal intends to present a case for relating motivation and performance at the level of employees and examine the drivers of motivation and develop practical solutions for organizations where employees lack motivation and performance suffers due to this problem.

1.5. Research Questions?

Is there a positive relationship between motivation and performance? To what extent does motivation influences performance of employees?

What are the factors that affect and increase the motivation in the employees of an organization?

1.6. Research Hypotheses

H1: There is significant relationship between motivation and employee performance.

H2: There is significant relationship between incentives based rewards and employee performance.

H3: There is significant relationship between employee training & development and employee motivation.

H4: There is significant relationship between performance appraisals system and employee motivation.

H5: There is significant relationship between leadership and interpersonal relationship system and employee motivation.

1.7. Scope and limitations

The primary focus of research will be to assess the drivers of motivation and the impact of motivation on employees’ performance. The research will emphasize on the employees working in the middle and lower management categories of LIC (India) branches of Lucknow Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Varanasi, thus acting as the representative sample for the overall population of employees working at LIC India. This study will include employees irrespective of their age gender and marital status. The study will be a blend of traditional and contemporary theoretical perspectives on the issue and empirical analysis from responses sought in questionnaires.

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The aspect of limitation in this research is the concentration of sample size. I expect around 250 respondents including males and females. Moreover the results may not be applicable to every company or organization as the motivational needs of employees may be different in different organizations. Also this study is restricted to studying the motivation of Life Insurance Company of India, thus the results may not be replicable in the offices beyond the boundaries of the city of Lucknow. The needs may be different in other parts of the countries.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1. Background to Motivation

Higgins, 1994 (Cited in: Linder, 1998) has defined motivation as “the psychological process that provides purpose and direction to an individual’s behaviour, a tendency to behave in a purposive manner which helps to satisfy the specific unfulfilled needs”. According to Young (2000) motivation is the driving force that controls the level of efforts, direction of execution and persistence of work.

Greenberg & Baron (2000, p. 190) have defined motivation as a three dimensional process wherein there is a drive in an individual that leads to action; then there are choices that individuals make and the changes in behaviour that occur and lastly maintenance of behaviour in order to persist until the desired goals or targets are reached and the needs are fulfilled. Halepota (2005) has defined motivation as active participation and commitment towards achievement of specific goals to attain the desired results. According to Halepota, the concept of motivation is contingent upon the different situations because no one particular strategy can be effective in all the situations.

2.2. Maslow’s hierarchy need theory (1943)

Although Maslow’s hierarchy need theory (Maslow, 1943) suggests hierarchical need based motivation, the commonly agreed fact is that the strongest motivator of people at work is money. However, money cannot be the only motivator important for employees at times. The factors such as participation, involvement and the feeling of being recognized and appreciated and valued by the management and peers seem to be more important for keeping the employees motivated (Laurie, 2007, p. 255). According to Needham (1999, p. 272), Maslow’s hierarchy need theory is too rigid as different individuals may have needs and priorities. In addition, they may have different motivators to influence their performance.

2.3. Herzberg’s two factor theory

Frederick Herzberg’s two factor theory (motivation and hygiene factors) postulates that employees are motivated by two sets of factors- motivation and hygiene. The motivation factors including achievement, recognition, participation, involvement, delegation, autonomy and other intrinsic aspects when fulfilled generate motivation in the employees. Contrary to this, when Herzberg’s hygiene factors such as salary, working conditions, policies and administration are not properly fulfilled or not managed well lead to dissatisfaction in the employees (Saiyadain, 2009, p. 158). According to John (2007, p. 41), a lot of responsibility for handling motivation issues of employees’ rests on the shoulders of the organization’s leaders. Although it is difficult for them to directly overlook the motivation of individual employees, it must be an important area for managers to deal with so as to manage the motivation of employees in direction of performance and better results.

2.4. Locke and Latham’s Goal Setting Theory

Locke and Latham, 1994 (Cited in: O’Neil and Drillings (1994) in their study have found evidence that the individual performance goals as powerful motivator. In their Goal Setting Theory, Locke and Latham (1990) propounded that simplest reasons behind some individuals’ performing better is their different performance goals and objectives and their actions are driven and controlled by those goals. That is what helps them perform better than others. Greenberg and Baron (2003) have linked motivation with performance by defining motivation as a process that directs behaviour towards achieving goals and objectives. Goal setting and feedback have been considered to be critical elements of a successful performance appraisal program; which help to generate motivation required by employees for job performance (Earley et al., 1990; Neubert, 1998 and Fletcher, 2001). Furthermore, Kavanagh et al. (2007) believes that positive performance results result in positive performance evaluation which leads to better reactions towards performance appraisal of employees.

It is essential to notice that when the employees are motivated in the right manner, they will be more willing to be committed to achieve objectives set for them by their organization. It is also important that the organizations adapt their functions and culture according to the changing needs of the employees in the present era of globalization because it is only then employees’ needs can be understood and satisfied and they can be kept motivated and dedicated towards organization (McShane & Von Glinow, 2003, p. 132).

2.5. Linking motivation and employee learning

Bandura (1991, p. 158) in his definition of motivation has combined motivation and cognition perspectives. Motivation has been described in terms of “intensity of efforts and persistence of exertion”. Simon (1967, p. 29) believes that motivation can affect the individual’s learning and result in permanent change in behaviour. Also motivation leads an individual towards performance and results into learning. According to Atkinson & Raynor (1974) motivation directly impacts the level of persistence in an individual and highly motivated learners tend to be more involved in the learning process than lesser motivated learners. This learning results into better performance and vice-versa.

2.6. Employee performance

Employees’ performance on job has been defined solely as the employees’ behaviour that is consistent with the goals and objectives of organization (Campbell, 1990). Motowidlo (1993) have considered job performance as the behaviour which can be evaluated in terms of its contribution to improving the organizational effectiveness. Viswesvaran & Ones (2000) proposes employees’ performance as behaviour in which employees involve and that is linked with the objectives of organization. According to Viswesvaran et al. (1996) there are several motivational factors (variables) that must be considered prior to evaluating the performance of employee.

2.7. Relationship between motivation and performance

Pulakos (2009, p. 100-105) has addressed the vital importance of performance management systems in place within a work environment of an organization. It is essential that both managers and employees are motivated towards achieving the desired levels of performance. Only an effective performance management system is unlikely to induce higher performances. It is critical to support it with determination and interest from employers and employees (Cokins, 2009, p. 10).

Lee & Bruvold (2003) suggest the need for management to invest in the development of employees as it helps to maintain and develop the level of skills, knowledge and abilities (SKAs) of employees and business organization.

It refers to the personal development and self-actualization needs of the employees as a tool to manage and promote motivation for effective performance from employees and share their contributions with the organization they work for. The researches by Gagne et al (1997) and Richer et al (2002) have established the positive correlation between the fulfillment of employee needs and their intrinsic motivation.

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Moreover the studies by Gagne & Deci (2005) support the positive relationship between autonomic work environment and intrinsic motivation which helps to enhance the performance of employees. Kuvaas (2006, 2007) and Piccolo & Colquitt (2006) have considered intrinsic motivation as an indicator of task performance at job. Recent study by Grant (2008) reveals the strong linkage between intrinsic motivation and “persistence, productivity and performance”.

The studies by Fagbemi (1990) and Latham & Pinder (2005) indicate the direct and strong association between motivation and job performance and therefore reflect the organization’s management to identify the most motivating factors and leverage with them to increase the motivation of employees and thus performance. If the management is aware what motivates their employees best, they can utilize the knowledge and create motivational programs, performance appraisals and performance management systems in place.

When the employees are not properly or adequately motivated, there are chances of failure to achieve the goals which can cause a decline in their self-efficacy (Ordonez et al. 2009), however there are no reporting that higher self-efficacy in employees affects the achievement or failure to reach goals (Bandura, 1997).

2.8. Importance of Motivation for Service based firms

In the particular context of service based organizations, quality of service is a decisive factor that impacts the competitive advantage. In relation to the Resource based view (RBV) of a firm, employee motivation can significantly influence the quality of service (Hays & Hill, 1999).

According to Ziethaml, Parasuraman and Berry (1990), perceptions of customers regarding quality are largely shaped by employee related factors such as empathy and responsiveness and the way the employees feel and behave certainly transfers on to the service provided by them (Bowen and Lawler, 1992). Therefore, it is logical to assume that if the employees are motivated enough, they will perform well and deliver better service and therefore help the organization achieve competitive advantage.

Waldham (1994) says that leadership system followed by a business organization and the job characteristics of employees. Motivation and vision influence the organizational learning and learning influences the motivation and vision of employees in return.

2.9. Motivators- External and Internal

The stimulating work environment in an organization exists when the objectives are clear, the standards are high and the employees are provided with ample training and development opportunities along with a fair and healthy reward management plan paired up with excellent leadership and favourable work climate (Capozzoli, 1998). Helminger (1997) also throws light on the continuing effect of motivational factors.

The effects of external motivators such as incentives might be counterproductive and (or) ephemeral. Therefore he calls for concentrating on internal motivators as well. Zimmer (1998) argues in favour of management implementing motivational environment with variables such as team working, social interaction and performance appraisal and employee appreciation platform.

Robbins & Coulter (1996) have suggested that employees can be motivated and kept motivated by designing jobs that are motivating for them. This can be suitably done through job enlargement (expanding the responsibilities within a particular job profile), job enrichment (increasing the quality of work involves in a job) and job rotation (switching different jobs for different employees and assigning best person at best position within an organization).

Chapter 3: Methodology

3.1. Methodological Framework

Formulation of the research problem and purpose of research

Choice of the particular research topic

Identifying potential respondents

Developing theoretical framework

Contacting the chosen respondents and getting them to reply favourably

Designing the questionnaire

Collection of empirical data from returned questionnaires

Interpretation of the empirical data through quantitative statistical methods

Analysis of results from interpretation of empirical data, deduce relationships between variables and discuss the research questions

Source: Author’s Creation

3.2. Research process

Ethridge (2004) has defined research as “the systematic approach to obtaining and confirming new and reliable knowledge.” According to Brink and Van der Walt (2006) research involves four phases including conceptual phase (idea development takes place), empirical phase (doing), interpretive phase (analysis of results) and communication phase (research writing). Saunders et al., (2009) distinguished between “research method” and “research methodology”. Research methods infer the techniques employed in a particular research whereas methodology refers to the manner in which a research is conducted.

3.3. Research approach

The two basic reasoning methods in a research are deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning (Trochim, 1999). In a deductive study, research takes the direction of working on an already existing theory or proposition, thereafter deduce hypothesis, test those hypotheses on the basis of empirical analysis conducted in the research (Bryman & Bell, 2009). The inductive research takes the opposite direction in which observation leads to development of pattern, thereafter hypotheses are developed and a theory is generalized. Thus deductive approach is from more general to more specific and inductive approach is from more specific to more general (Saunders et al., 2009).

3.4. Nature of Research

For the purpose of this research I intend to utilize the descriptive research. In this type of research, I will describe the data collected through surveys conducted on the sample population and present the characteristics regarding sample and the topic of research. This research will include surveying (through questionnaires) and correlational studies.

3.5. Data Collection

Primary source of data collection is the responses in the questionnaires (Appendix 1). Secondary sources of data collection include company websites, academic journals, business periodicals, business magazines, books and conferences. The commonly referred databases include Business Source Premier, Science Direct, JSTOR, SAGE Journals, Wiley Blackwell journals, Emerald Full Text, Springerlink, and Harvard Business Review.

3.6. Choice of research method

The most common demarcations of research methods are qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods. During this research a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used. The quantitative methods will reveal the extents of relation between motivation and performance whereas qualitative methods will infer the causes behind the phenomenon. The quantitative method will use statistical tool of analysis which is correlation to help test the hypotheses and draw inferences from results.

3.7. Sampling

The sampling design used for this research is simple random sampling. The population for study is the employees working in LIC of India branch offices. From this population a specific number of respondents (which is proposed to be around 250) will be obtained from the population. Thus sample size, N= 250. This will be done through probability sampling where each subject will have equal odds of being selected in the research sample.

Chapter 5: Timescale of research










Generating potential topics for research

Choose the dissertation topic

Writing the Literature review

Writing Research Proposal

Prepare questionnaires for distribution

Collect primary data

Empirical analysis of data


Preparing drafts

Revising and editing drafts

Submit dissertation


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